News Archive


North West - YGN Speaking Competition

North West Speaking Competition

On the 3rd May, the North West (NW) branch, in conjunction with the YGN, held the Young Person’s Speaking Competition regional final, with the winner delivering an engaging technical presentation.

The annual competition, organised and run by members of the NW Branch, gives the younger members of the nuclear industry a chance to practice their public speaking skills and compete for the first prize of £300 and a place in the national final.

To enter the event, budding speakers submit a synopsis proposing a talk topic. The NW Branch received an exceptional number of applications this year and the selection team had a difficult task before them to reduce that number to six finalists.

This year saw some varied topics discussed including: ‘Terminator: Rise of the Clean-up Machines’ presented by Samantha Ree (NNL) who included a visual display of robot size utilising a loaf of bread; and two varied views on the role of nuclear in the present and future energy mix provided by Ben Pilling (Sellafield Ltd) and Sebastian Beck (Nucleargraduates).

The judges for the evening were Jon Baggs (Abbott Risk Consulting), Monica Mwanje (MM Creative Solutions and NW Branch Chair) and last year’s winner of the NW regional final, Matt Harrison (Sellafield Ltd).

John Bintu, from National Nuclear Laboratory, gave the winning presentation with his technical talk entitled ‘Vitrification of High Level Waste in the UK’. This presentation detailed the vitrification process, discussed some of the recent developments in the process and some proposals on how to tackle the current challenges of how high level waste is managed in the UK. The judges praised John for his natural presentation style and his ease of explaining vitrification to an audience of peers.

Prizes were also awarded to Kate Wallace, also from NNL, who delivered a presentation on the potential use of nuclear waste to power photovoltaic cells, complete with a self-written animation; and Sarah O’Sullivan, a PhD student from the University of Sheffield, who delivered a psychological analysis of nuclear NIMBYs and encouraged the audience to challenge perceptions.  

John Bintu will now go forward to represent the North West in the YGN Speaking Competition national final that will be held in Birchwood, Warrington in September. Other regional finals will be taking place across the UK in the following months. Visit the YGN website for more information if you would like to take part.

Commenting on the evening Jon Baggs stated, “It’s great to see such talents entering our industry.” With Matt Harrison commenting, “I really enjoyed the involvement in the evening in both respects. I was thinking afterwards how I look forward to entering as a speaker again next year!”

Melissa Loyley, the event organiser, commented that, “This year we had triple the number of entries compared to the last couple of years which goes to show that the younger generation are keen to get involved in events that develop their skills and have ideas that are worth exploring for the industry. It’s a great time to be involved in nuclear.”

The NW Branch and the YGN would like to thank all the judges and participants for taking part in this important and exciting event. The NW Branch would also like to thank the staff at The Centre, Birchwood Park for their support and assistance on the day.

644 nw

L-R: Kate Wallace and John Bintu (NNL), Sarah O’Sullivan (University of Sheffield), Monica Mwanje (MM Creative Solutions & NW Branch Chair), Jon Baggs (ARC), Matt Harrison (Sellafield Ltd)